1 volume New Routes 1 4 published by the life & peace institute 2/2009 A journal of peace research and action Conflict transformation: Three lenses in one frame UNDERSTANDING PEACEBUILDING THEORY: Management, resolution and transformation CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION: A circular journey with a purpose TOGETHER IN CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION: Development cooperation, mission and diacony Conflict transformation by military involvement CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION: A challenging necessity in a war-ridden region Espoir de paix grâce à l action de l UPDI
2 Contents 3 understanding 7 conflict peacebuilding theory: Management, resolution and transformation Thania Paffenholz transformation: A circular journey with a purpose John Paul Lederach/Michelle Maiese together in conflict transformation: Development co-operation, mission and diacony Paula Dijk Conflict transformation by military involvement Thomas Boehlke conflict transformation: A challenging necessity in a war-ridden region Espoir de paix grâce à l action de l UPDI Urbain Bisimwa Conflict Transformation: Further reading LPI News Reviews and Resources excuse me, is this the right way to peace? This issue of New Routes is largely about theory, or rather theories. A great number of scholars have developed theories on peacebuilding, conflict resolution, conflict management, conflict transformation, etc. But theory without practice in the context of peacebuilding is, if not dead, at least lifeless and of little use. Therefore, the descriptions and explanations of theory are accompanied by practical examples in order to make them more comprehensible and more based on real life experiences. Since the late 1980 s, the Life & Peace Institute (LPI) has been engaged in community-based peacebuilding and nonviolent conflict transformation in Africa. Therefore, the aim of this issue is to reflect on different aspects of conflict transformation, to explain its basic theory, to compare it with other approaches to peacebuilding and to describe its effects in reality. Two of the most well-known researchers on conflict transformation, John Paul Lederach and Thania Paffenholz, have kindly contributed to this issue with their wealth of knowledge and experience. Paula Dijk from the Dutch interchurch organisation ICCO expounds their efforts within conflict transformation to help people create sustainable peace. The activities of the military within conflict transformation are described by Thomas Boehlke, with examples from the Philippines. Other examples form the field are found in an article from LPI s field office in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, and from one of its partner organisations, the farmers syndicate the UPDI, respectively. These texts depict the interaction between theory and practice, regional and local. We hope that this issue will be useful and instructive both to readers who are already familiar with the concepts of different peacebuilding theories, and to students and others who have recently become acquainted with them and want further knowledge and inspiration. For this purpose, please see the Resource pages with a number of websites and publications for further reading. Kristina Lundqvist About the authors New Routes published by the life & peace institute A journal of peace research and action New Routes is a quarterly publication of the Life & Peace Institute (LPI). Material may be reproduced freely if New Routes is mentioned as the source. Opinions expressed in New Routes do not necessarily reflect LPI policy positions. Life & Peace Institute Sysslomansgatan 7, SE Uppsala, Sweden Tel: (+46) , Fax: (+46) Web site: Editorial committee: Malin Brenk, Henrik Fröjmark, Bernt Jonsson and Kristina Lundqvist Editor: Kristina Lundqvist Cover photo: Janerik Henriksson/Scanpix Layout: Georg Lulich Grafisk Form Printer: Temdahls Tryckeri AB, Östervåla, Sweden ISSN Thania Paffenholz holds a PhD in International Relations and is a lecturer for peace, conflict and development at the Graduate Institute of Inter national and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland. She also advises the UN, the OECD, governmental and non-governmental organisations on their peacebuilding work. She is a member of LPI s Board and Executive Committe. John Paul Lederach is Professor of International Peacebuilding with the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He works as a practitioner-scholar, providing facilitation, mediation and training/ education, with extensive experience at national and community levels. Michelle Maiese is a graduate student of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is a part of the research staff at the Conflict Research Consortium. Paula Dijk works as a Programme Specialist on Democratisation and Peace building for ICCO & Kerk in Actie, the Netherlands. Thomas Boehlke is an instructor for Joint Military Operations at the German Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Hamburg. He is Commander in the German Navy and holds university degrees in adult education and mediation. Urbain Bisimwa is the Secretary General of the farmers syndicat UPDI in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
3 understanding peacebuilding theory New Routes 2/ Building peace is in itself one of the most intricate enterprises of human beings. Out of different theories, models and practical experiences a number of schools of thought have evolved, each with its own way of thinking and specific terminology. The dividing lines between the different approaches and their understanding are not always crystal clear. This article presents an overview of some of the most influential peacebuilding theories. understanding peacebuilding theory: Management, resolution and transformation Thania Paffenholz Peacebuilding is essentially about the process of achieving peace. Depending on one s underlying understanding of peace, peacebuilding differs considerably in terms of approaches, scope of activities and time frame. It is therefore not astonishing that the term and concept of peacebuilding are nowadays used in research and practice with varying understandings and definitions. This article 1 gives an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of peacebuilding. A theoretical reflection allows for a better understanding as to why certain terms and approaches are used (and sometimes confused) in research and practice. The article presents a systematic analysis of different schools of thought that explain why different actors choose different ways to build peace, and where they derive their underlying theories from (explicitly or implicitly). The article thereby also presents new and critical research thinking in peacebuilding that might impact on practitioners work in the future. Peacebuilding in international relations theories In a nutshell, the focus of all international relations (IR) theories is on regulating the international system of states, thus maintaining peace as security, order or justice. 2 Realism focuses on the balance of power among sovereign nation -states based on an understanding that the international system is anarchic, and states are driven by interest rather than idealistic norms. Peacebuilding in realism refers to maintaining stability through hegemonial power and through the preservation of interests. In contrast, idealism advocates for a world regulated by international organisations, norms and standards. Peacebuilding therefore aims at achieving peace between nations on the basis of the establishment of norms and standards and through a super entity like the United Nations (UN), which can help in regulation and monitoring. A Marxist-inspired structuralist IR analysis focuses on justice and equality, and critically analyses the power relations within the sys- tem. Peacebuilding in this context is a revolutionary approach to mobilise the masses in order to achieve radical change in the international system. Post-structural IR reading also looks into issues of justice, equality and power relations, but puts the main emphasis on marginalised actors and discourses. Here peacebuilding is not about a common meta-narrative, but about understanding differences and including the discourses on the everyday peace of ordinary people into international debates in an emancipatory sense. Peacebuilding within IR theory is often not explicit. The framing of IR theories has, however, inspired the middle level theories that deal more explicitly with peacebuilding (even if not all of them refer to the very term). Different schools of thought I identify five main approaches (schools of thought) to peacebuilding that are presented below. The mainstream peacebuilding literature usually comes up with three schools (management, resolution and transformation), but I would like to add two more, one for historical reasons (complementary school) and one due to new discussions that currently take place in research (alternative discourse school) that could have implications on practitioners work. The Conflict Management School The approach of the Conflict Management School is to end wars through different diplomatic initiatives. This is the oldest school of thought, closely linked to the institutionalisation of peacebuilding What was at first a more elite-based civil society approach became a general civil society and grassroots approach. in international law. Peacebuilders, according to the logic of this school, are external diplomats from bilateral or multilateral organisations. This school aims to identify and bring to the negotiating table leaders of the conflict parties. Its main focus is the short-term management of the armed conflict. Recent examples include the Sudan or Aceh peace accords (Miall et al. 1999, ; Paffenholz 2001a, 75-81; Richmond 2005, 89-96). The largest contribution of the Conflict Management School is its focus on those in power who have the ability to bring large-scale violence to an end through a negotiated settlement. The Conflict Management School has been criticised because mediators tend to concentrate solely on the top leadership of the conflicting parties (Lederach 1997), often ignoring the need for facilitation by different internal and external actors before, during and after the negotiations (Paffenholz 1998 and 2000). The approach also overlooks the deep causes of conflicts (Hoffman 1995).
4 4 New Routes 2/2009 understanding peacebuilding theory PHOTO: PAUL JEFFREY/ACT INTERNATIONAL The Conflict Resolution School The approach of the Conflict Resolution School is to solve the underlying causes of conflict and rebuild destroyed relationships between the parties. In the early Conflict Resolution School, peacebuilders were mainly Western academic institutions carrying out conflict resolution workshops with nonofficial actors close to the conflict parties (Fisher 1997; Kelman 1992). As the approach evolved, the scope of actors was substantially broadened. What was at first a more elite-based civil society approach became a general civil society and grassroots approach, including a wide range of actors from individuals to communities and organised civil society groups. The common features of modern (second generation) conflict resolution approaches can be identified as follows: all involved actors aim at addressing the root causes of conflict with relationshipbuilding and long-term resolutionoriented approaches, and they do not represent a government or an international organisation. The main suppliers are international NGOs. They often work together with national and local NGOs. The main activities performed are dialogue projects between groups or communities, peace education, conflict resolution training to enhance the peacebuilding capacity of actors from one or different groups, and conflict resolution workshops. The Conflict Resolution School has been criticised first from a conflict management perspective. Improving communications and building relationships between conflicting parties do not necessarily result in an agreement to end the war (Bercovitch 1984). The approach has later also been criticised for its assumptions that the work with civil society and the grassroots does not automatically spill over to the national level (Richmond 2001). The Complementary School This school focuses on the possible congruence between the Conflict Management and Resolution Schools. By putting the strength of these two schools together, it was somehow a logical step that peacebuilding is needed from the top and from below. In the early to mid- 1990s, different approaches were developed that sought to overcome the dichotomy between conflict management and resolution. The three main approaches are a) the Contingency model for third party intervention in armed conflicts (Fisher and Keashly 1991), b) Bercovitch and Rubin s similar model (1992), and c) the Multi-Track Diplomacy approach (Diamond and McDonald 1996). The main critique of this approach points out that in practice, different types of interventions can take place at the same time (Bloomfield 1995; Webb et al. 1996; Paffenholz 1998 and Fitzduff 2000) and do not fully address the issue of coordination (Paffenholz 1998). Children often have the ability to play even in difficult outer circumstances. This boy has been internally displaced by violence in Colombia and now lives in Cazuca, a burgeoning poor neighbourhood south of Santa Fe de Bogotá. The Conflict Transformation School This school focuses on the transformation of deep-rooted armed conflicts into peaceful ones, based on a different understanding of peacebuilding. It suggests replacing the term conflict resolution with the term conflict transformation (Rupesinghe 1995). John Paul Lederach developed the first comprehensive and widely discussed transformation-oriented approach (Lederach 1997). (See also Lederach s article on p 7 in this issue.) Building on the Complementary School, Lederach also sees the need to resolve the dilemma between shortterm conflict management and longterm relationship building, as well as the resolution of the underlying causes of conflict. His proposal is to build
5 understanding peacebuilding theory New Routes 2/ long-term infrastructure for peacebuilding by supporting the reconciliation potential of society. In line with the Conflict Resolution School, he sees the need to rebuild destroyed relationships, focusing on reconciliation within society and the strengthening of society s peacebuilding potential. Third party intervention should concentrate on supporting internal actors and coordinating external peace efforts. Sensitivity to the local culture and a long-term time frame are also necessary. This approach has a key focus on peace constituencies by identifying mid-level individuals or groups and empowering them to build peace and support reconciliation. Empowerment of the middle level is assumed to then influence peacebuilding at the macro and grassroots levels. Lederach divides society into three levels, which can be approached through different peacebuilding strategies. Top leadership can be accessed by mediation at the level of states (track 1) and by the outcome-oriented approach. Mid-level leadership (track 2) can be reached through more resolution-oriented approaches, such as problem-solving workshops or peace-commissions, and with the help of partial insiders (i.e., prominent individuals in society). The grassroots level (track 3), however, represents the majority of the population and can be reached through a wide range of peacebuilding approaches, such as local peace commissions, community dialogue projects, or trauma healing. Building on a decade of work in the Horn of Africa, the conflict transformation approach of the Life & Peace Institute adopts a community-based bottom-up peacebuilding approach, expanding Lederach s mid-level approach to the grassroots track. This approach also combines in-country peacebuilding with peacebuilding advocacy at the international level (Paffenholz 2003 and 2006b). The largest contribution of the conflict transformation school is its shift in focus from international to local actors. It therefore puts even more emphasis on civil society and ordinary people than the resolution school. The Conflict Transformation School has not been subject to any fundamental critique for a while. On the contrary, it has become the leading school for scholars/practitioners and the international peacebuilding NGO community. Paffenholz, when analysing the validity of the approach in the Mozambican (Paffenholz 1998) and Somali peace processes (Paffenholz 2003 and 2006b), points to several deficiencies: First, the linkage between the tracks is not sufficiently elaborated, as conflict management is still necessary but is under-conceptualised in Lederach s approach. Second, external actors should not only support insiders directly, but also need to consider the wider peacebuilding arena, and might also lobby for peacebuilding vis-àvis other actors like regional or international governments (Paffenholz 1998, ). Third, civil society organisations can also take up a conflict management approach as exemplified with the role of the churches in the Mozambican peace process (Paffenholz 1998, ). Fourth, the emphasis on the incorporation of traditional values and local voices in Lederach s approach is confirmed in its essence. However, it needs to also be critically analysed, as in today s world these structures are often transformed by modern developments (Paffenholz 1998, 76). Fifth, the main focus on the middle level might not work in all societies, and the option to work directly with the grassroots in a bottom-up community peacebuilding approach should be better conceptualised, as exemplified by the work of the Life & Peace Institute in Somalia (Paffenholz 2003 and 2006b). 3 Other critiques point to the lack of a power analysis in Lederach s approach (Featherstone 2000, 207) as well as to the negative consequences of the practical application of the approach by international NGOs (Paffenholz and Spurk 2006, 23-26; Richmond 2005, ). The Alternative Discourse School of Peacebuilding There is an emerging literature analysing peacebuilding through the lens of discourse analysis and advocating for an alternative approach to peacebuilding (Featherstone 2000; Richmond 2005; MacGinty 2006; Heathershaw 2008). By deconstructing the international practitioners discourse, this school shows that the peacebuilding discourse has become a self-referential system that has long lost its connection to the real world and needs of the people. This school aims to identify and bring to the negotiating table leaders of the conflict parties. In line with Foucault, the Alternative Discourse School does not present an overarching theory, but points to the need to refocus on the everyday peace of ordinary people (Featherstone 2000; Bendaña 2003; MacGinty 2006, 33-57; Richmond 2005). On the basis of an analysis of Southern voices, Bendaña comes to similar conclusions by emphasising that peacebuilding becomes an inherently conservative undertaking seeking managerial solutions to fundamental conflicts over resources and power, attempting to modernise and relegitimise a fundamental status quo respectful of a national and international market economy (Bendaña 2003, 5). The alternative approach suggested here is one of transformative peacebuilding, which leads to a post-hegemonic society (Featherstone 2000, ) where oppressed voices are listened to and respected. It therefore also implies structural changes and the acknowledgment that peacebuilding is mainly a Western enterprise that needs to engage in a serious South/North dialogue. The biggest contribution of this emerging Alternative Discourse School of peacebuilding is its focus on ordinary people, oppressed voices, the critical analysis of power structures and an assessment based on realities instead of normative assumptions. Conclusion In sum, peacebuilding is still an undertheorised concept. Nevertheless, the theories presented in this article demonstrate that it is necessary to engage in solid theoretical reflection when doing peace work. All of these theories already have an impact on realities. 4 Knowing where one s underlying theories come from is therefore a first step in a critical practitioner s reflection on peace work. ~ References Bendaña, A What Kind of Peace is Being Built? Stock Taking of Post-Conflict Peacebuilding and Charting Future Directions. Paper prepared for the International Development Research Council (IDRC) on the 10th anniversary of An Agenda for Peace. Ottawa, Canada.
6 6 New Routes 2/2009 understanding peacebuilding theory Bercovitch, J Social Conflicts and Third Parties. Boulder, CO: Westview. Bercovitch, J., Rubin, B Mediation in International Relations. Multiple Approaches to Conflict Management. London: St. Martin s Press. Bloomfield, D Towards Complementarity in Conflict Management. Resolution and Settlement in Northern Ireland. Journal of Peace Research 32 (2): Diamond, L., J. McDonald Multi- Track Diplomacy, A Systems Approach to Peace, West Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press. Featherstone, A Peacekeeping, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding: A Reconsideration of Theoretical Frameworks. International Peacekeeping 7 (1): Fisher, R Interactive Conflict Resolution. In Peacemaking in International Conflict: Methods and Techniques, ed. Zartman/Rasmussen. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press. Fisher, R. J. and L. Keashly The potential complementarity of mediation and consultation within a contingency model of third party intervention. Journal of Peace Research, 28: Fitzduff, M First- and Second- Track Diplomacy in Northern Ireland. In Peacebuilding, A Field Guide, ed. Reychler/Paffenholz, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Foucault, M. (Folley 1996) Sécurité, Territoire, Population. Cours au Collège de France Ed. M. Senellart. Paris: Gallimard/Seuil. Goldstein, et al Classic Readings and Contemporary Debates in International Relations. 3rd ed: Wadsworth Publishing. Heathershaw, J Unpacking the liberal peace: The Dividing and Merging of Peacebuilding Discourses Millennium: Journal of International Studies 36 (3): Hoffmann, M Konfliktlösung durch gesellschaftliche Akteure. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen von Problemlösungs-Workshops. In Friedliche Konfliktbearbeitung in der Staaten- und Gesellschaftswelt, ed. Ropers/Debiel, Bonn: Dietz Verlag. Kelman, H Informal Mediation by the Scholar/Practitioner. In Mediation in International Relations: Multiple Approaches to Conflict Management, ed. Bercovitch/Rubin. London: Macmillan. Lederach, J. P Building Peace. Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press. MacGinty, R No War, No Peace: The Rejuvenation of Stalled Peace Processes and Peace Accords. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Miall, H., O. Ramsbotham, T. Woodhouse Contemporary Conflict Resolution. Cambridge: Polity Press. Owen, T Human Security Conflict, Critique and Consensus: Colloquium Remarks and a Proposal for a Threshold-Based Definition. Security Dialogue 35 (3): Paffenholz, T Konflikttransformation durch Vermittlung. Theoretische und praktische Erkenntnisse aus dem Friedensprozess in Mosambik ( ). Main: Grunewald. Paffenholz, T. 2001a. Western Approaches to Mediation. In Peacebuilding, A Field Guide, ed. Reychler/Paffenholz, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Paffenholz, T. 2003a. Community-based Bottom-up Peacebuilding. The development of the Life & Peace Institute s approach to peacebuilding and Lessons Learned from the Somalia experience ( ). Uppsala: Life & Peace Institute. Paffenholz, T. 2006b. Community Peacebuilding in Somalia - Comparative Advantage of NGO Peacebuilding The example of the Life & Peace Institute s Approach in Somalia ( ). In Subcontracting Peace: NGOs and Peacebuilding in a Dangerous World, ed. O. Richmond, et al, Aldershot: Ashgate Publishers. Paffenholz, T., C. Spurk Civil Society, Civic Engagement and Peacebuilding. Social Development Papers, Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Paper No. 36. Washington, D.C.: World Bank. Patrick, I East Timor Emerging from Conflicts: The Role of Local NGOs and International Assistance. Disasters 25 (1): Pouligny, B Civil Society and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Ambiguities of International Programmes Aimed at Building New Societies. Security Dialogue 36 (4): Pugh, M Peacekeeping and Critical Theory. International Peacekeeping 11 (1): Ray, J Does Democracy Cause Peace? Annual Review of Political Science 1: Richmond, O Rethinking Conflict Resolution: The Linkage Problematic Between Track I and Track II. The Journal of Conflict Studies Fall 01. Richmond, O The Transformation of Peace. London: Palgrave Mac Millan. Richmond, O Reclaiming Peace in International Relations. Millennium: Journal of International Studies 36 (3): Rupesinghe, K Conflict Transformation. London: St. Martin s Press. Webb, K., V. Koutrakou, M. Walters The Yugoslavian Conflict, European Mediation, and the Contingency Model: A Critical Perspective. In Resolving International Conflict. The Theory and Practice of Mediation, ed. J. Bercovitch, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. 1 This article sums up parts of a theory chapter of a forthcoming book: Paffenholz, Thania (ed.) 2009, Civil Society and Peacebuilding: A Critical Assessment. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers. 2 For an overview of International Relations Theories see Goldstein, Donald M., Jay M. Shafritz, and Phil Williams (2005). For an attempt to conceptualise peace in International Relations Theory see Richmond It should be mentioned here that Lederach is very much grassroots oriented in his field work. 4 For a presentation of a broad assessment of peacebuilding realities on the ground see the following publication: Paffenholz, Thania, Civil Society and Peacebuilding, Working Paper 4, Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding, The Graduate Institute, Geneva May 2009.
7 conflict transformation: a circular journey with a purpose New Routes 1/ When conflict arises, people tend to feel uncomfortable and seek for a reason and a quick resolution. However, in social conflicts the underlying causes are often multi-layered and refer to different aspects in time and context. In order to reach the goal, the actors have to enter a process of conflict transformation, which will turn out to be both linear and circular. conflict transformation: A circular journey with a purpose John Paul Lederach and Michelle Maiese In common everyday settings we experience social conflict as a time when a disruption occurs in the natural discourse of our relationships. As conflict emerges, we stop and take notice that something is not right. The relationship in which the difficulty is arising becomes complicated, not easy and fluid as it once was. We no longer take things at face value, but rather spend greater time and energy to interpret what things mean. As our communication becomes more difficult, we find it harder and harder to express our perceptions and feelings. We also find it more difficult to understand what others are doing and saying and may develop feelings of uneasiness and anxiety. This is often accompanied by a growing sense of urgency and frustration as the conflict progresses, especially if no end is in sight. If someone uninvolved in the situation asks what the conflict is about, our initial explanations will typically be framed in terms of the specific issues the parties are dealing with. This is the content of the conflict, the immediate problems that must be resolved through problem solving and negotiation. However, the transformational approach addresses this situation somewhat differently. This is because conflict transformation is more than a set of specific techniques. It is about a way of looking and seeing, and it provides a set of lenses through which we make sense of social conflict. These lenses draw our attention to certain aspects of conflict, and help us to bring the overall meaning of the conflict into sharper focus. Before proceeding further, I should describe what I mean by a lens as a Dialogue and collaboration can prevent violent conflict and promote peaceful solutions. Two boys in Mindanao, the Philippines, discuss their high-flown plans. transformational tool. I recently purchased a set of glasses that have socalled progressive lenses. This means that in my eyeglasses I have three different lens types in the same frame. One lens helps bring into focus things at a great distance that would otherwise be a blur. A second brings objects that are at mid-range into a clear picture. The third helps me read a book or thread a fish line through a hook. It is interesting to note three things about my new glasses and how they relate to a transformational view. First, if I try to use the close-up lens to see at a distance, the lens is counterproductive and useless. Each lens has its function and serves to bring a specific aspect of reality into focus. But when it brings that layer of reality in focus, other layers are placed in a blur. Second, no one lens is capable of bringing everything into focus. Rather, I need multiple lenses to see different aspects of a complex reality, and cannot rely exclusively on one lens to see the multiple layers of complexity. Third, the three lenses are held together in a single frame. I need each of the different lenses to see a particular portion of reality, and I need them to be integrated to see the whole picture. Thus, we need lenses that help us address specific aspects of conflict as well as a framework that holds them together in order to see the conflict as a whole. So what are useful lenses that bring varying aspects of conflict complexity into focus and at the same time create a picture of the whole? First, we need a lens to see the immediate situation. Second, we need a lens to see past the immediate problems and view the deeper relationship patterns that form the context of the conflict. Third, we need a lens that helps us envision a framework that holds these together and creates a platform to address the content, PHOTO: FRANCISCO DATAR
8 8 New Routes 2/2009 conflict transformation: a circular journey with a purpose Inquiry 1: Presenting situation Issue Patterns History Solutions Relationships Systems Inquiry 2: Horizon of Future sion of the conflict and focuses on the relational and historical patterns in which the conflict is rooted. Put another way, presenting issues connect the present with the past. The patterns of how things have been in the past provide a context in which the issues in a dispute rise toward the surface. But while they create an opportunity to remember and recognize, presenting issues do not have the power to change what has already transpired. The potential for change lies in our ability to recognize, understand, and redress what has happened, and create new structures and ways of interacting in the future. the context, and the structure of the relationship. From this platform, parties can begin to find creative responses and solutions. The conflict transformation map It is common in the study of conflict to develop a map that helps us to engage in conflict assessment and analysis. Similarly, it is useful to have a map of what we mean by transformation. Figure 1 provides a shortcut overview of such a map, which can help us to visualize the development of a strategy to constructively transform conflict. This transformational framework has three components, each of which represents a point of inquiry in the development of a response to conflict: 1) The presenting situation; Relational Figure 1 The big picture of conflict transformation 2) The horizon of preferred future; and 3) The development of change processes linking the two. The movement from the present toward the desired future is not a straight line, Personal Episode Epicenter Structural Inquiry 3: Development of Change Processes Cultural but rather a set of dynamic initiatives that set in motion change processes and create a sustained platform to pursue long-term change. Such a framework emphasizes the challenge of how to end something not desired and how to build something that is desired. Inquiry 1: The presenting situation The first point of inquiry is the presenting situation, the conflict episode that provides an opportunity to look both at the content of the dispute and the patterns of relationship in the context in which the dispute is expressed. This is graphically represented in Figure 1 as a set of embedded circles or spheres. A transformational view raises two important questions: What are the immediate problems that need to be solved? What is the overall context that needs to be addressed in order to change destructive patterns? In other words, transformation views the presenting issues as an expression of the larger system of relationship patterns. It moves beyond the episodic expres- Inquiry 2: The horizon of the future The second point of inquiry is the horizon of the future, the image of what we wish to create. It asks us to consider what we would ideally like to see in place. However, this is not simply a model of linear change, in which there is movement from the present situation to the desired future. While the presenting issues act as an impetus toward change, the horizon of the future points toward possibilities of what could be constructed and built. It represents a social energy that informs and creates orientation. Thus, the arrow points not only forward to the future, but also back toward the immediate situation and the range of change processes that may emerge. This combination of arrows suggests that transformation is both a circular and a linear process, or what we will refer to here as a process structure. Inquiry 3: The development of change processes The final major inquiry is the design and support of change processes. This broader component requires that we think about response to conflict as the development of change processes that attend to the web of interconnected needs, relationships, and patterns. Because the change processes should address both the immediate problems and the broader relational and structural patterns, we need to reflect on multiple levels and types of change rather than focusing on a single operational solution. Change processes must not only promote short-term solutions, but also build platforms capable of promoting long-term social change. Taken as a whole, this big picture provides a lens that permits us to envision
9 conflict transformation: a circular journey with a purpose New Routes 2/ the possibilities of immediate response and longer-term constructive change. It requires a capacity to see through and beyond the presenting issues to the deeper patterns, while at the same time seeking creative responses that address real-life issues in real time. However, Circular understanding suggests that we need to think carefully about how social change actually develops. to more fully understand this approach we need to explore in greater depth how platforms for constructive change are conceptualized and developed as process structures. Platforms for transformation We come now to the operational side of transformation. The key challenge is how to support and sustain a platform with a capacity to adapt and generate ongoing desired change while at the same time responding creatively to immediate needs. To engage this challenge we have to think about platforms as process structures. In modern physics, process structures are natural phenomena that are dynamic, adaptive and changing, and yet at the same time sustain a functional and recognizable form and structure. 1 Margaret Wheately refers to them as things that maintain form over time yet have no rigidity of structure. 2 The two terms that make up this term, process and structure, point to two interdependent characteristics: adaptability and purpose. Transformational change processes must feature both of these characteristics. They must be both linear and circular. Conflict transformation is a circular journey with a purpose. In simple terms, linear means that things move from one point to the next in a straight line. It is associated with a rational-logical understanding of events in terms of cause and effect. However, in the social arena, events are likely moving along broad directions not always visible from a short-term perspective. In this arena, a linear perspective asks us to stand back and take a look at the overall direction of social conflict and the change we seek. It requires us to articulate how we think things are related and how movement is created. Specifically, it asks us to look at the patterns of interaction, not just the immediate experience, and understand the changes in these broad patterns. Circular understanding suggests that we need to think carefully about how social change actually develops. This notion of circularity underscores some defining elements of transformational change processes. First, it reminds us that things are connected and in relationship. Second, it suggests that the growth of something often nourishes itself from its own process and dynamic. In other words, it operates as a feedback loop. Third, and most critical to our inquiry, an emphasis on circularity makes it clear that processes of change are not unidirectional. Figure 2 represents change as a circle, featuring four experiences common to those in the midst of a difficult conflict. 1. There are times when we feel as if desired change is happening. Things move forward and progress, and what we hope to build seems to be in sight. 2. At other times, we feel as if we have reached an impasse or hit a wall. Nothing is happening or all pathways forward seem blocked. Figure 2 Change as a Circle 4. Things collapse 3. Things move backwards 1. Things move forward 3. Sometimes we feel as if the change processes are going backwards, and what has been achieved is being undone. Common to the change process is the feeling that we are swimming against the tide or headed upstream. 4. Finally, we sometimes feel like we are living through a complete breakdown. These periods tend to be deeply depressing, and are often accompanied by the repeated echoes of we have to start from ground zero. All of these experiences are integral parts of the change process and provide us with some important insights about change. First, no one point in time determines the broader pattern. Rather, change encompasses different sets of patterns and directions. Second, we should be cautious about going forward too quickly. Sometimes going back may create more innovative ways forward, and falling down may create new opportunities to build. Third, we should be aware that life is never static and that we must constantly adapt. The key to create a platform for transformation in the midst of social conflict lies in holding together a healthy dose of both circular and linear perspectives. A transformational platform is essentially this: The building of an on-going and adaptive base at the epicenter of conflict from which it is possible to generate processes that create solutions to 2. Things hit a wall; movement stops
10 10 New Routes 2/2009 conflict transformation: a circular journey with a purpose Figure 3 Transformational Platform Epicenter: Relational Context and Patterns Visible Over Time Past Episodes: short-term needs and provide a capacity to work on strategic long-term constructive change in systemic relational context. We can visualize this idea in Figure 3 by adding to our process-structure the rising escalation of conflict episodes. In order to understand a transformational platform, we need to visualize the idea of an on-going base from which processes can be generated. The escalation of conflict creates opportunity to establish and sustain this base. From the transformational view, developing a process to provide a solution to the presenting problem is important but not the key. Central to transformation is building a base that generates processes that 1) provide adaptive responses to the immediate and future iterations of conflict episodes, and 2) address the deeper and longer-term relational and systemic patterns that produce violent, destructive expressions of conflict. In other words, a conflict-transformation platform must be short-term responsive and long-term strategic. The defining characteristic of such a platform is the capacity to generate and Issues, Content, Controversy Expressed in Discrete Time (Crisis) * Plattform: Base for Creating Processes Responsive to Immediate Issues and Deeper Patterns re-generate change processes responsive to both immediate episodes and the relational context. It is in this way an adaptive process-structure, one that can produce creative solutions to a variety of problems. Conclusions The movement from the present toward the desired future is not a straight line, but rather a set of dynamic initiatives. * * * Future The lenses of conflict transformation focus on the potential for constructive change emergent from and catalyzed by the rise of social conflict. Because the potential for broader change is inherent in any episode of conflict, from personal to structural levels, the lenses can easily be applied to a wide range of conflicts. A key advantage to this framework lies in its capacity to think about multiple avenues of response. A transformational approach inquires about both the specifics, immediately apparent in the episode of conflict, as well as the potential for broader constructive and desired change. Clearly there are arenas in which transformation is limited and a quick and direct resolution of the problem is more appropriate. In disputes where parties need a quick and final solution to a problem and do not have a significant relationship, they typically appeal to negotiation and mediation. In such cases the exploration of relational and structural patterns are of limited value. For example, a one-time business dispute over a payment between two people who hardly know each other and will never have contact again is not a context to explore a transformational application. However, in cases where parties share an extensive past and have the potential for significant future relationships, and where the episodes arise in an organizational, community or broader social context, simple resolution approaches may be too narrow. Though they may solve the immediate problems, they miss the greater potential for constructive change. This is even more significant in contexts where there are repeated and deep-rooted cycles of conflict episodes that have created destructive and violent patterns. In such cases, avenues to promote transformational change should be pursued. Increasingly, I am convinced that those in the alternative dispute-resolution field and the vast majority of people and communities who wish to find more constructive ways to address conflict in their lives were drawn to the perspectives and practices of conflict resolution because they wanted change. They wanted human societies to move from violent and destructive patterns toward the potential for creative, constructive and nonviolent capacities to deal with human conflict. This means replacing patterns of violence and coercion with respect, creative problemsolving, increased dialogue, and nonviolent mechanisms of social change. To accomplish this, a complex web of change processes under-girded by a transformational understanding of life and relationship is needed. ~ This article is an abbreviated version of the Knowledge Base Essay Conflict Transformation, posted at essay/transformation/?nid= See Margaret Wheatley s discussion of this in reference to learning organizations in Leadership and the New Sciences, San Francisco: Barrett- Koehler, Publishers, Wheately, 1994:16
11 together in conflict transformation New Routes 2/ For a couple of years the international departments of the Dutch interchurch development organisation ICCO and the missionary organisation Kerk in Actie have worked together to promote justice, peace and democracy in 50 countries. The approach used in these collaborative efforts is conflict transformation, which aims not only at ending violence, but at achieving positive, sustainable peace. together in conflict transformation: Development co-operation, mission and diacony Paula Dijk The Interchurch Organisation for Development Co-operation (ICCO) & Kerk in Actie has chosen to focus its peacebuilding policy on the approach of conflict transformation. This choice was made on the basis of the outcomes of a study that was done in 2004 to position ICCO in peacebuilding (Wormgoor, 2004). The main research question was: how do ICCO policy and practice relate to the different approaches in peacebuilding and what lessons can be learned from this analysis? An overall conclusion in this study was that no explicit choice had been made in ICCO s policy for a specific approach in peacebuilding, and that ICCO practice was in between conflict resolution and conflict transformation. In this study it is recommended that an explicit choice is made for conflict transformation, firstly because this is the most comprehensive of all approaches, and secondly because this is the only approach to address the underlying structures of a conflict, which was found to be closest to ICCO s development approaches. ICCO & Kerk in Actie is advised to acknowledge the importance and relevance of the other four approaches to peacebuilding, but to choose conflict transformation as the main focus for a country as a whole (Wormgoor, 2004: 39, 40). ICCO & Kerk in Actie has based this approach of conflict transformation to a large extent on the work of John Paul Lederach. 1 (See also the article on p 7 in this issue.) This approach aims to end violence and to change negative relations between parties in conflict. In addition, it stresses the need to address root causes of violent conflicts. This means that the underlying structures that consolidate unequal power relations, and thus cause injustice and inequality, need to be addressed. ICCO & Kerk in Actie uses the following definition of conflict transformation: Conflict transformation aims at truly achieving positive peace. It does not only aim to end violence and change negative relationships between the conflicting parties but also to change the political, social or economic structures that cause such negative relationships. Conflict transformation is aimed at empowering people to become involved in nonviolent change processes themselves, to help build sustainable conditions for peace and justice. 2 Different approaches to peacebuilding exist. Apart from conflict transformation, the main approaches are conflict management, conflict settlement, conflict resolution and conflict prevention. These approaches remain relevant in conflict transformation, but need to A man prepares his small plot for planting outside the village of Koukou Angarana, Eastern Chad. be complemented with interventions aimed at transforming the underlying structures of conflict, and linkages need to be created with all groups of actors. For example, while conflict resolution mainly focuses on changing attitudes and improving relationships between conflicting groups, conflict transformation focuses on changing the context as well (Specht, 2008:6). Characteristics of conflict transformation Emphasis is placed on the root causes of conflicts. This focus on root causes necessitates a thorough analysis of the causes (both the root causes and the more proximate causes) of conflict. The three main dimensions of conflict transformation are: the perceptions and attitudes of people, the context in which people live and the behaviour of people. These three dimensions are closely linked, as can be seen in the figure below. 3 PHOTO: PAUL JEFFREY/ACT INTERNATIONAL
12 12 New Routes 2/2009 together in conflict transformation Adaptation of Galtung s triangle (Fisher et al., 2000: 10) Direct physical violence Behaviour Action: reduction of violence to promote negative peace Visible violence Less visible violence (under the surface) Attitude Sources of violence: attitudes, feelings, values Context Structural violence: context, systems, structures Action: work to change attitudes and context, as well as violence reduction, to promote positive peace Ω Perceptions and attitudes: How people behave is influenced by their perceptions and attitudes. Examples of perceptions and attitudes are distrust, feelings of superiority (negative examples) or trust and confidence (positive examples). Ω Context: This concerns the circumstances in which people live, for example whether people have equal access to basic services, whether they have economic opportunities and whether they can participate in the political system. The context in which people live influences their perceptions and attitudes as well as their behaviour. Ω Behaviour: The behaviour of people is a result of both their attitudes and the context in which they live. Examples of behaviour are violence, corruption (negative examples) or peaceful coexistence and dialogue (positive examples). Behaviour also influences attitudes and context. The linkages between attitudes, behaviour and context imply that conflict transformation needs to address these three dimensions simultaneously. Applying policy in practice Taking the specific (post)-conflict situation as a starting point is a guiding principle in the policy of ICCO & Kerk in Actie, since we believe that there are no blueprints for conflict transformation. Analysis of underlying structures of conflicts and of the agendas and motivations of the different actors involved in the conflict is essential. Furthermore, our long experience in working with local organisations (both faith-based and secular) has given us a strong belief that these are best placed to work on conflict transformation, since they are rooted in their society and often have good insight into the causes, actors and dynamics of the conflict. For these reasons we find it necessary to ensure that our policy on conflict transformation can be applied in practice by both our staff and our partner organisations. This necessity is also confirmed by a recent Partos programme evaluation on conflict transformation. 4 In the synthesis report on this evaluation, named Conflict transformation: a science and an art, one of the main conclusions is that there is a lack of operationalisation and weak vertical integration of policies on conflict transformation (South Research c.s., 2008: 97). To ensure the effective operationalisation of our policy, we have developed, and will continue to develop, separate tools and guides that translate the policy choice for conflict transformation into user-friendly guidelines for formulating context-specific programmes. We are stimulating the formulation of programmes on conflict transformation with our partners and other stakeholders in the above-mentioned countries/ regions. ICCO & Kerk in Actie started using the so-called programmatic approach in The core characteristics of this approach are seen as: The need for cooperation and complementarities, which includes dividing roles among different actors according to strength, capacity and focus; Working towards a common goal that is specific and attainable; Having a process that is inclusive and participatory; and Dividing programmatic work into phases while recognising that it is an ongoing process.
13 together in conflict transformation New Routes 2/ Using the programmatic approach to work on conflict transformation means that we favour a participatory process in which partner organisations and possibly other stakeholders are jointly working towards the development of a programme. We strive to work with a mix of different kinds of organisations, like NGOs, Faith-Based Organisations, Community Based Organisations, Research Institutes, etc. Some of these organisations have strong constituencies, and therefore legitimacy, whereas others have considerable knowledge and experience. In this process of programme development different phases can be identified. These phases are a guideline, not a blueprint. In some contexts a different phasing might be more preferable. Tools have been and are being developed to facilitate the formulation of contextspecific programmes. 5 The first phase concerns a thorough analysis of the conflict. This is preferably a joint initiative by all of the stakeholders involved in the programme development, looking at the root and proximate causes of conflicts, actors involved, and all the main dimensions that need to be ad- dressed in conflict transformation. A tool for conflict analysis has been developed to be used in workshops bringing together the partner organisations and possibly others, as well as by individual organisations. 6 In this tool special attention is given to gender and religion. The second phase is the development of a joint vision for the programme. For conflict transformation programmes, this means that a joint vision of peace and change is developed, as well as the key elements of a broad conflict transformation strategy. This is done in the form of a workshop in which all of the participants in a programme take part. A tool is being finalised for this purpose. The third phase is the operationalisation of a realistic programme with a clear goal. The objectives, strategies, The context in which people live influences their perceptions and attitudes as well as their behaviour. expected results and indicators will be formulated. The participants will decide together, based upon the outcomes of the preceding phases, on which issues the programme will focus, possibly including sub-programmes. A tool is being developed to give guidance on the formulation of conflict transformation programmes. Some experiences so far As described above, we have fairly recently introduced this more systematic way of working on conflict transformation in order to ensure a better connec- PHOTO: PAUL JEFFREY/ACT INTERNATIONAL Traditional grinding by two people demands strength, skilful co-operation and a sense of rhythm, like with these women in Eastern Chad.
14 14 New Routes 2/2009 together in conflict transformation tion between policy and practice. It is therefore too early to give an in depth overview of our experiences and results. We can, however, share some of our experiences related to the process of developing a programme with partners and others on conflict transformation. Most importantly, we have opted for a participatory, context-based approach. It is our experience that the ownership of a programme grows when sufficient time is taken for a joint conflict analysis and vision development. Besides, these contribute considerably to the exchange of knowledge and experiences between the partner organisations, and thus stimulate in a very natural way the creation of forms of cooperation. However, this is a process that is quite demanding for our staff and partner organisations in terms of time investment, but also because of the innovative character of introducing the programmatic approach in combination with conflict transformation. The tools we develop provide considerable support to staff and partner organisations, but should not be considered a panacea. As the synthesis report on the Partos programme evaluation on conflict transformation states: Conflict transformation is both an art and a science (South Research c.s., 2008: 29), where art refers to intuition, empathy, imagination, creativity, adaptive leadership and courage. ~ Bibliography Fisher, Simon et al. (2000), Working with Conflict: Skills and strategies for action. London: Zed Books. Rebuilding and repairing are essential elements in human life, Both women and men of Mayankyun village took part in reconstructing the school after the cyclone in Burma. Lederach, John Paul (1997), Building Peace: Sustainable reconciliation in divided societies. Washington: United States Institute of Peace. Lederach, John Paul (2003), The Little Book of Conflict Transformation. Intercourse, PA: Good Books. South Research, ECORYS Research and Consulting and Peace Research Leuven (2008), Conflict Transformation: A science and an art. Synthesis report of the thematic evaluation: CFAs on the road to conflict transformation, Final draft November Specht, Irma (2008), Conflict analysis. Practical tool to analyse conflict in order to prioritise and strategise conflict transformation programmes. Utrecht: ICCO & Kerk in Actie. Wormgoor, Otto (2004) Positioning ICCO in Peace building. To manage, settle, resolve, transform and prevent conflicts. Utrecht: ICCO. 1 Sources: The little book on Conflict Transformation, John Paul Lederach, 2003; Building Peace: Sustainable reconciliation in divided societies, John Paul Lederach, Washington: United States Institute of Peace. 2 Based on Wormgoor (2004:11), based on work of Lederach, last sentence Lewer (1999:2). 3 The terms negative and positive peace are mentioned in this figure. Negative peace is understood as the absence of visible violence, whereas positive peace can only be achieved when, apart from reducing violent behaviour, attitudes and the context are also addressed (Fisher 2000:10). 4 Partos is the national platform for Dutch civil society organisations in the international development cooperation sector. Four organisations participated n this Partos Programme evaluation covering the period , including ICCO & Kerk in Actie. 5 A three-phased approach has been developed. For each phase a tool for trainers and a tool for participants are developed. These tools are developed for ICCO & Kerk in Actie by Irma Specht of Transition International. 6 Specht, Irma (2008), Conflict analysis. Practical tool to analyse conflict in order to prioritise and strategise conflict transformation programmes. Utrecht: ICCO & Kerk in Actie. PHOTO: CWS-ACT INTERNATIONAL About ICCO & Kerk in Actie ICCO is the interchurch organisation for development cooperation and one of the 5 largest Dutch co-financing agencies, working in 50 countries solely through local civil society counterparts. Kerk in Actie is the missionary and diaconal organisation in the Netherlands and the world of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. Since January 2007 the international departments of ICCO & Kerk in Actie have been merged, sharing partners and programmes. ICCO & Kerk in Actie gives financial support and advice to local organisations and networks across the globe that are committed to providing access to basic social services, bringing about sustainable equitable economic development and promoting peace and democracy. One of the thematic focus areas is conflict transformation, for which ICCO & Kerk in Actie has developed and are developing policies and tools for practical use. We are currently applying these in the following conflict or post-conflict countries (or subregions within countries): Afghanistan, Great Lakes, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.
15 conflict transformation by military involvement New Routes 2/ The traditional view of military intervention as a quick fix in insurgency situations is not valid in today s world, says the author of this article. With a starting point of the internal conflict in Mindanao, Southern Philippines, he reflects on the role of the military in this kind of protracted social conflict. There is a need for a high degree of sensitivity and knowledge about the underlying factors that cause the conflict. International (unarmed) troops can have a positive impact, as they are professional soldiers and speak the language of their counterparts. Conflict transformation by military involvement Thomas Boehlke The end of the Cold War brought to a close four decades of antagonism between two political and military blocks that dominated the international system. This single international conflict clouded almost all other conflicts and even led to proxy wars between the two antagonistic systems (e.g. Vietnam War, wars of liberation in Africa), when each side supported their protégées dogmatically, materially and with military personnel. Although inter-state wars have not completely disappeared from the arena of global politics, they are the exception to the rule (e.g. the Iraq war 2003). The Heidelberg Conflict Barometer accounted for 345 contemporary conflicts in of these conflicts involve armed violence and most of them are intra-state conflicts. A practical example of an intractable and protracted social conflict that will serve as an example in this article is the internal conflict in Mindanao (Southern Philippines). It has already lasted for more than four decades and is one of the longest lasting violent internal conflicts. Its recurring hostilities have caused the loss of life of about 120,000 people and the displacement of more than two million people. The violent encounters mostly take place between rebel groups and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Formal peace talks and negotiations (Track 1) are taking place or are about to be resumed between the government and rebel groups, but they are supplemented by complementary activities at various levels of society (Tracks 2 and 3). Sources of conflict In the international context, the focus of conflict resolution and consequently mediation is on the settlement of conflicts, i.e. social conflicts. Social conflicts are defined as an interaction between actors (individuals, groups, organisations, etc.), where at least one actor experiences a difference or contradiction with another actor s perception, way of thinking or imagination, to the extent that his/her intentions and feelings towards a situation or condition are such that it appears to be incompatible or irreconcilable. 2 For long, enduring ethno-political conflicts, E. Azar coined the term Protracted social conflict. 3 It is a conflict between identity groups, of which at least one feels that its basic needs for political participation, economic wealth Patience, empathy and communicative skills are the weapons used in the monitoring of the ceasefire between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine Government, more sustainable than the cartridges of this rebel. sharing, security and equality are not respected. The insurgent party strives to gain access to state-related power. The Muslim Filipinos form a minority (5 per cent) amongst a Christian majority (85 per cent) of the population. The Moros, as the Muslim Filipinos call themselves, are a multi-ethnic group with differing cultural and linguistic backgrounds. They have in common their adherence to Islam. The conflict is ethnic in nature with sociocultural, economic and political roots that eventually led to the marginalisation and impoverishment of the Muslim Filipinos in Mindanao. In the course of government politics to re-settle land- PHOTO: THOMAS BOEHLKE
16 16 New Routes 2/2009 conflict transformation by military involvement less people from a densely populated North to the less populated Mindanao, a demographic shift in Mindanao occurred. Muslims became a minority in their ancestral domains. Minoritized over decades in their homeland, the last five provinces where Muslims remain as the majority are not only the poorest provinces but also those where the quality of life is worst. These five provinces according to the Human Development Index ranking of Philippine provinces have the least access to education, health, electricity, and transport, water, and sanitation services the basic infrastructure to sustain any growth or development. Moreover, life expectancy and adult literacy are the lowest in these provinces. 4 In 2004, a Joint Needs Assessment Team with the cooperation of the Philippine Government, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and local stakeholders in Mindanao provided an assessment of the causes of the conflict and the needs of conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. The underlying cause of the conflict is assessed to be injustice caused by the factors shown in the table below: Key causes of conflict as articulated by stakeholders in Mindanao 6 Manifested in following forms: Social exclusion and marginalisation of Bangsamoro people and Lumads from mainstream of political, economic and social life of the Philippines Loss of access to land and other key resources and economic opportunities Perceived suppression of Moro and Lumad 5 traditions, customs and institutions Extreme poverty Deprivation of basic amenities for a decent human existence Ineffective or imposed institutions of governance, rule of law and service delivery It is obvious that a multi-faceted approach is required that addresses the social, economic, political and securityrelated causes of conflict. The armed confrontation between rebel groups and the armed forces is supplemented by armed violence caused by armed groups like vigilantes, armed clan members or criminal gangs. The proliferation of small arms in Mindanao is contributing enormously to a very dangerous situation that lacks public security and a reliable judicial system. Conflict development and military involvement The cyclical nature of the conflict process with its action-reaction-counteraction momentum has the potential to escalate into violence, and to pass the threshold from a latent to a manifest and finally a violent conflict. The dynamics that transform the dispute seem to progress principally towards escalation, unless it is prevented by conciliation or intervention. How is this progression conceivable? A social or political condition previously not recognised becomes apparent (it can Key Triggers of Armed Confrontation: Presence of armed groups or militarisation of the communities Declaration of all-out-war against the MILF by the Estrada Administration Inter-tribal and inter-ethnic conflict Rido (clan warfare and revenge killings/blood feuds Crimes (e.g. cattle rustling, kidnapping) Competition for scarce natural and mineral resources Local election disputes be named). The next step is transforming this realisation into a grievance (somebody can be blamed for it). Finally, the discontent will be voiced and a remedy will be claimed from someone (person or institution). 7 This progressing Development of an Insurgency Complaint Naming Blaming Claiming FIGHTING transformation is true for all social conflicts and does not necessarily lead to physical violence, but there is a threshold that, once overstepped, is very difficult to return to. So fighting becomes the fourth sequential element, which is the common characteristic of an insurgency, rebellion or internal war. This will inevitably bring the employment of military forces. An insurgency might be defined as the actions by a minority group within a state against its sovereign government, with the intent to disrupt the government s influence and control and force political change by means of a mixture of subversion and military pressure. It aims to persuade or intimidate the local population to accept and support such change. 8 Naturally, from a government s point of view, all activities conducted by the insurgents are considered illegal. A successful insurgency requires the support of the local populace. If there is no popular support, the insurgency will eventually fail. The two sides, the government as well as the fighting insurgents, depend upon the acceptance and will of the people to either support or resist the insurgency. The general action of a government in response to violent actions by insurgents is the employment of military and security forces. The prime interest of the challenged government will be to preserve the territorial integrity of the state, and consequently the suppression of insurrection by violence (fighting) tends to be the first option. However, a quick military fix to such a situation rarely succeeds. The specific methods of warfare applied by insurgents are, for instance, guerrilla tactics, terrorism or assassination of government officials. A symmetric force on force encounter in a traditional military form is unlikely to occur. The fighting will be protracted and recur over time. With the proliferation of small arms and modern weaponry, it is
17 conflict transformation by military involvement New Routes 2/ also doubtful whether a purely military solution would even be feasible. A successful counter-insurgency has to strive for winning the hearts and minds of the population. The insurgents will try to convince the same population to stay the course and accept the hardship. Intimidation or oppression from either side will not resolve the conflict. To suppress fighting is to tackle a phenomenon but not the actual roots of the conflict. It also delineates the role of the military as an actor in conflict transformation. It is a war amongst people 9 as General Rupert Smith describes it, where a single massive event of military action no longer delivers a political result. The cessation of hostilities in violent conflicts does not necessarily mean the end of a conflict, but should rather be seen as a band-aid over an infected wound. For military actors as an element of Track 1 efforts it means to create a peaceful and secure environment conducive to development. The role of military actors in conflict transformation Peace processes are established through a multiplicity of conflict resolution activities. Ramsbotham and Woodhouse 10 developed the hourglass model of conflict resolution, which combines the nature of conflict resolution efforts with stages of the conflict and adequate responses to these stages. The military has a critical but limited role to play in support of Track 1 efforts. The hourglass represents the narrowing of political space toward escalation that culminates in violence. The widening represents political space and the deescalatory aspects of conflict resolution. The rectangle in the centre illustrates the sphere where conflict containment, the attempts to limit and end violence, takes precedence over other interventions. This is the sphere where predominantly military means are being employed and the use of force occurs. The objective is to create conditions that would permit a pacific settlement of the conflict through negotiations and dialogue. It would remove the element of fighting from the escalatory sequence of naming blaming claiming. It delineates where military contingents and police forces, for instance UN or NATO peace forces would be employed to end hostilities and prevent a resumption of fighting. Maintaining a ceasefire (including coercive means) provides the opportunity to re-enter into dialogue CONFLICT RESOLUTION STAGES OF CONFLICT RESPONSES Conflict Transformation Conflict Settlement Conflict Containtment Conflict Settlement Conflict Transformation Difference Contradiction Polarisation Violence WAR Ceasefire Agreement Normalisation Reconciliation Hourglass Model of Conflict Resolution Responses 11 again and to transform violent or potentially violent conflicts into peaceful (nonviolent) processes of social and political change. The escalatory sequence of events eventually might turn into violence when a conflict party expects violence to leverage concessions from an opponent or to affect the balance of power in ensuing negotiations, or when a state responds repressively or is perceived as doing so. Whether a conflict further escalates also depends on the way armed forces are employed or respond to civil protest or unrest, and the public perception thereof. The so-called Bloody Sunday 1972 in Northern Ireland is an event where British security forces opened fire on demonstrators, thus further igniting a latent conflict. As a consequence the Irish Republican Army was able to recruit a great number of militants, thus starting a spiral of violence. In Mindanao the long and fierce fighting has installed fear and distrust and alienated the armed forces from the population. The military is seen as an occupant rather than a protector, a situation a local field commander intends to change. Cultural Peacebuilding Structural Peacebuilding Peacemaking Preventive Peacekeeping Peace Enforcement Peace Support & Stabilisation Post-Conflict Peacekeeping Peacemaking Structural Peacebuilding Cultural Peacebuilding Contemporary (internal) conflicts require a new set of skills for the military war-fighter. It is an understanding of conflict dynamics that will need to be complemented by conflict management skills, to break away from old and failed patterns of dealing with present-day conditions and to regain people s trust and thus avoid renewed escalation. In Mindanao, the local military commander, Major-General R. Ferrer 12, chose a different approach to the challenges of achieving peace. He introduced conflict management training for his field officers and non-commissioned officers in order to effectively contribute to conflict transformation. It is the transformation of mindsets that is challenging the military to go the distance, going deeper into unknown territory, such as understanding culture and history, analysing human behaviour, using sound judgement when it comes to tribal wars or rido, learning to practice empathy and communication, and erasing biases. 13 An encouraging fact is also that this training takes places in cooperation with local NGOs. The five-day training courses cover the following learning objectives 14 :
18 18 New Routes 2/2009 conflict transformation by military involvement cite concepts and theories on conflict, peace and peace building; outline the different concepts, principles and approaches of peacebuilding work; demonstrate basic skills of mediation, negotiation and dialogue; identify ways how peace building can be integrated in their own work context; and analyse/assess conflict in their respective Areas of Responsibility using [conflict management] tools. Additionally another programme called SAAL AM (Special Advocacy on Literacy/Livelihood and Advancement for Muslims) focuses on enlisted personnel. This programme aims at soldiers employed in remote geographic areas where they stay with local communities and are supposed to teach basic reading/writing and instruct on aspects of livelihood. These are areas where military personnel are often the only government representation. In support of the peace process an International Monitoring Team was employed to Mindanao, encompassing (unarmed) military personnel from Malaysia, Brunei, Libya and Japan. Their mission was to monitor the ceasefire between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine Government. Their main weapon is patience, empathy and communicative skills in order to diffuse any tense situation arising, by mediating between armed groups involved. Their strength rests in the fact that they are professional soldiers and a kind of respected peer for their counterparts, as they speak the language and understand potential concerns. Conclusion The military plays a critical role in the way to sustained dialogue as the way to conflict transformation. However, it has a supportive role in the process of conflict resolution and has its main emphasis on conflict containment. The military side comes on stage at a time when a conflict has escalated and the use of force, or the threat thereof, is unavoidable to counter violence. The way the military is employed needs to keep the end, a sustainable peace, in mind. At a time when contemporary (internal) conflicts are characterised by war amongst people, a new set of skills needs to be acquired by military personnel, if they are going to be part of effective peacebuilding. Although military intervention is primarily an element of Track 1, its involvement will necessarily permeate all levels down to the grassroots and require proper cooperation and coordination with all other players actively involved in the peace process. ~ Bibliography Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc newsupdates/2009/04opkors.html (accessed May 2009). Bush, Robert A. Baruch. Realizing the Potential of International Conflict Work: Connections between Practice and Theory. Negotiation Journal (Blackwell Publishing) 19, no. 1 (January 2003): Felstiner, William L.F., Richard L. Abel, and Austin Sarat. The Emergence and Transformation of Disputes: Naming, Blaming, Claiming... Law and Society Review, : Ferrer, Major-General Raymundo B., interview by Thomas Boehlke. Military and Peacebuilding Cotabato City, (22 Jan 2008) Glasl, Friedrich. Konfliktmanagement Ein Handbuch für Führungskräfte, Beraterinnen und Berater. 8., aktualisierte und ergänzte Aufl. Bern/Stuttgart: Haupt Verlag, 2004 Gutierez, Eric, and Saturnino Borras. The Moro Conflict Landlessness and Misdirected State Politics. Washington, DC: East-West Center Washington, 2004 Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research. Conflict Barometer Department of Political Science, HIIK, Heidelberg: University of Heidelberg, 2008 Miall, Hugh. Conflict Transformation: A Multi-Dimensional Task. Berghof Handbook. Berghof Research Centre for Constructive Conflict Management (accessed 04 24, 2009) NATO. Allied Joint Publication Peace Support Operations. Brussels: NATO Standardization Agency, 2001 Ramsbotham, Oliver, Tom Woodhouse, and Hugh Miall. Contemporary Conflict Resolution The Prevention, Management and Transformation of Deadly Conflicts. 2nd ed (fully revised and expanded). Cambridge, UK / Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2005 Smith, Rupert. The Utility of Force The Art of War in the Modern World. London: Penguin Books, 2005 World Bank, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Joint Needs Assessment for Reconstruction and Development of Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao. Vol. I. Manila, 2005 Yabes, Criselda. All Wars End in Peace Army Maj.Gen. Ferrer tells his men: Soldiers can be peacebuilders without losing their fighting spirit. Edited by Marites DanguilanVitug. Newsbreak (Public Trust Media Group, Quezon City, Philippines), October/December 2008: Yabes, Criselda. Soldiers in Mindanao: Sustaining peace, healing wounds. Newsbreak.com.ph. 9 June php?option=com_content&task=view& id=4901&itemid= (accessed Jul 5, 2008). 1 HIIK, Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research, 2008) 2 See Glasl, 2004, p Conflict Theory developed by Edward Azar that identfies the deprivation of human needs as source of protracted social conflicts and are usually expressed collecively. It is the prolonged and often violent struggle by communal groups for such basic needs as security, recognition, and acceptance, fair access to political institutions and economic participation. See Ramsbotham, Woodhouse and Miall 2005, p. 84ff. 4 Gutierez and Borras, Moro = Muslim Filipino; Lumad = member of indigenous Non-Muslim and Non-Christian ethnic groups 6 World Bank, 2005, p See Felstiner, Abel, & Sarat, Definition developed by the War Studies Department of RMA Sandhurst (UK Army Field Manual on Counterinsurgency, 2001) 9 Smith, Ramsbotham, Woodhouse, & Miall, 2005, p Compare Ramsbotham, Woodhouse, & Miall, 2005, p Commander of the Philippine Army s 6th Infantry Division (Cotabato City) 13 Yabes, All Wars end in Peace-Army Maj.Gen. Ferrer tells his men: Soldiers can be peacebuilders without losing their fighting spirit Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. 2009
19 conflict transformation in a war-ridden region New Routes 2/ Since the Life & Peace Institute opened its field office in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in 2002, its work has been based on the theory of Conflict Transformation. A strategy has been developed on how to transform violent conflicts and build sustainable peace in the volatile situation in Eastern DRC. The aim is to strengthen and enable local partners by helping them become socalled Professional Centres for Conflict Transformation. conflict transformation: A challenging necessity in a war-ridden region The uniqueness of the Life & Peace Institute (LPI) lies in its work being grounded in the theory of Conflict Transformation (CT), as opposed to other approaches commonly known as conflict resolution or conflict management. CT takes as its central tenet that conflict is not necessarily violent or negative, but rather inherent in all societies, and must be seen as a potential vector for change towards something positive, or pacifist. Based on the idea that conflict represents a social situation in which several actors pursue incompatible objectives, CT focuses, both at the theoretical and action levels, on three key concepts: problems, actors and dynamics. As far as actors are concerned, both attitudes (cognitive and emotional: representations, stereotypes, fears, etc) and behaviours (violence, pacifism, etc) are considered crucial. Thus, while conflict resolution essentially seeks to put an end to violence by working on the behaviours of actors (mainly using techniques of mediation through negotiations and diplomacy), and conflict management mainly tackles the problems in order to try and contain them without necessarily solving them (for example, the use of peacekeeping troops), conflict transformation simultaneously tackles attitudes, behaviours and problems with the aim of transforming, or positively changing, them. CT work is therefore both analytical (in that it tries first to understand the conflict) and prescriptive (by prescribing possible courses of action to transform it). It takes into account four dimensions of conflict: Displaced people, like this girl in Eastern DRC, need food and shelter, but most of all peace. Since million people in the country have died of war-related violence, hunger and diseases. a) Personal/individual, in which CT seeks to minimise the effects of the conflict on a person and to maximise his/her ability to cope with it through, for example, psycho-social help, counselling, victim-perpetrator confrontation, spirituality, etc. b) Relational, in which CT considers inter-dependencies between groups or within a group, looking at, for example, communication or interaction means, stereotyping, mutual comprehensions, etc. c) Structural, in which CT examines to what extent social structures carry the potential for conflict, or how conflict in its turn impacts social structures. d) Cultural, in which CT looks at how certain cultural traits can negatively influence conflict, for example customary power, women s roles, ownership systems, identities, etc. CT involves simultaneously acting upon one or more of these dimensions, tackling the conflict from several angles, working with a multitude of different actors (from the bottom to the top) likely to influence these levels, and guaranteeing a more complete and durable solution in the long run. Transforming conflicts in practice As mentioned above, LPI believes that CT activities should/could focus on four dimensions of conflict and two levels of intervention (analytic and prescriptive). With the aim of developing unique expertise and of achieving more internal coherence, LPI thinks that its CT activities should be limited to the analysis level, as well as to a few specific interventions (in dark grey in the table on next page): PHOTO: PAUL JEFFREY/ACT INTERNATIONAL
20 20 New Routes 2/2009 conflict transformation in a war-ridden region Dimension Personal Relational Structural Cultural Level of intervention Feelings Person-Group, Structures, systems Ideologies Emotions Person-person, Values Analysis Perceptions Group-group (political, economic, Norms Fears social ) Identities Customs Therapy Mediation Mediation Mediation Action Psycho-social Negotiation Negotiation Negotiation accompaniment Reflection Reflection Reflection Advocacy Defending interests Cultural activities, etc Sensitisation Advocacy Long term actions (e.g. Development work) To resume relations To modify structures To change mentalities Interventions to be executed by a conflict transformer CT actions to be executed by other actors LPI discourages interventions by one actor only on all of the dimensions of the conflict. It is important that a professional CT organisation circumscribe the activities it allows itself to execute in order to safeguard its internal coherence and perceived impartiality in the Conflict is not necessarily violent or negative, but rather inherent in all societies. conflict. Over the past two years, LPI- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has developed a clear strategy on how to transform conflict in the specific context of Eastern DRC and how to contribute to a long-term peace in the region. The idea is to reinforce local partners in several domains, in order for them to become Professional Centres for Conflict Transformation (PCCT). A PCCT will have to circumscribe the activities it allows itself to execute in order to safeguard its internal coherence, to develop a unique expertise in a specific field of intervention, to professionalise its staff, and to communicate its objectives in a transparent way. This will also enable the organisation to avoid dispersion and amateurism, which, no doubt, a tendency to respond to all existing needs at once would result in. Consequently, a conflict requiring actions in the social or economic domain (for example, psycho-social accompaniment of victims, or development activities like road rehabilitation) will not be executed by the CT organisation itself. When the CT function cohabitates with other sectors within a larger organisation, collaboration links with these sectors will be sought. In all other cases, a PCCT will have to develop advocacy skills in order to mobilise specialised actors in these fields. The response of these actors will serve to achieve complementary and durable solutions to the conflict. Another justification for limiting the scope of activities to be carried out by a CT actor will be linked to an impartiality requirement at the analytical level. In order for the PCCT s conflict analyses to be truly professional, they will have to be perceived as objective by the conflicting parties. This objectivity and impartiality, which will have to be built, consolidated, and preserved, will be compatible with only a few very specific activities. Advocacy activities, for example, which by definition involve taking clear stands on certain issues or actors, will only be carried out occasionally and with great caution. All other activities (for example, development, health, etc), despite being necessary in order to transform a conflict in a sustainable way, will be left to more specialised actors whose mandate it is to execute them. Taking into account all of these views on how conflict can be transformed and what role LPI should play in this, how does LPI put all of these ideas into practice in DRC? Basically, LPI believes that there are two main starting points for change in DRC: 1) The involvement of local, independent organisations in the peace building process. Very often the actions of peacebuilding are choreographed by international organisations (diplomats, MONUC, UN, and international NGOs). Attempts to resolve a conflict are mostly situated in the
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